Artscaping as transition support

Transition points are widely recognised as moments when children and young people often need extra support. As part of our creative health work with Fullscope, we were interested to learn with a school partner how Artscaping, our arts-in-nature practice, could address some of the challenges that arise.

In June 2023 artist Susanne Jasilek and Creative Producer Di Goldsmith began working with a combined group of selected students from a Primary and Secondary School that are part of the Hampton Academies Trust in Peterborough. The intention was to bring together a group of students who could together explore their ideas as they transitioned from year 6 to year 7 and year 7 to year 8 respectively.  Artscaping sessions took place over the summer term and then continued on in the autumn term. Pastoral teams in both school were closely involved.  

The eight sessions took place in the woodland area at the end of the school field. Children explored a range of materials – clay, photography, sculpture, movement, drawing and painting. Sessions were supported by Teaching Assistants from both settings. 

transition support


The benefits of spending time outdoors creatively were noticed by everyone:

Being outside with the children you can see that they immediately relax and feel less under pressure....I personally found the sessions were good for my levels of stress. The sessions were very mindful and with encouragement for the artists, I even produced some artwork that made me smile - I am sure it was the same for the students. Teaching Assistants

Nature makes you very, very happy.....It makes you calm. Students

It is humbling to be able to offer calm, and a non-judgemental space where children could relax, create and breathe without having to perform in some way. I enjoyed creating a place where children could be silent, or share, as trust built, more difficult feelings and stories.  Susanne

The group had time and space to think about what being creative means and how gently and carefully it can be nurtured:

I enjoyed the creative work they made but also the diverse ways they interacted with the project, some hugely and some in very small ways. We learned to appreciate the smallest of contributions. Susanne 

One student I was working with initially was very worried about doing the wrong thing, drawing the wrong picture etc. By the final session she was fully engrossed in her clay model and produced a really fab piece that went beyond the original brief. She was really proud of herself. Teacher Assistant 

Everyone grew in confidence and commented on the freedom the sessions offered, to move differently and to explore new ideas:

We witnessed the palpable pleasure and sense of freedom for some of the children as they moved away from the school buildings. Sometimes they wandered in the trees and created in different areas alone. Sometimes they made small interventions together. Conversations were more fluid as the weeks progressed.  Di

If you put your mind to something you can do it. Student 

I learnt to slow down a little and that not everything has to have an outcome. It also opened my eyes to how children open up when in an outdoor environment and are also able to slow down. Teaching Assistant 

Transition support


This pilot was part of our Creative Health programme with Fullscope. Recent research about transition points can be found here.